Today, the Church celebrates the feast of a remarkable woman. Pope Saint Pius X acclaimed her to be the “Greatest Saint of Modern Times.” Yet in her life she was a simple, humble Carmelite Nun; unknown to everyone except her family, her Carmel and a few people with whom she had been in correspondence. She is Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. By her “Little Way” she shows us that God treasures and exults all of the flowers in His garden – whether they be “great roses” or “humble wood violets.” St. Thérèse is proof of Our Lord’s promises in the Gospels that: “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the land (Matthew 5:5)” and “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they labor not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these (Luke 12:27).”
I believe that St. Thérèse best sums up her spirituality and, in short, her whole life with the following quote:
“My God, ‘I choose all!” I don’t want to be a saint by halves, I‘m not afraid to suffer for You, I fear only one thing: to keep my own will; so take it, for ‘I choose all’ that You will (Story of a Soul, translated by John Clarke, O.C.D. Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1976)!”
How beautiful, yet how difficult it is to surrender one’s own will to God’s will.
In today’s Gospel, we hear that:
“The disciples approached Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?’ He called a child over, placed it in their midst and said, ‘Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18: 1-4).”
It was just this humble, childlike surrender that St. Thérèse sought to accomplish. It is for this reason that she is known as the “Greatest Saint of Modern Times.” Let us together seek the powerful intercession of St.Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, on this her special feast day! St. Thérèse – Pray for Us!
“O God, who open your Kingdom to those who are humble and to little ones, lead us to follow trustingly in the little way of Saint Thérèse, so that through her intercession we may see your eternal glory revealed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen (Collect for the Holy Mass for St. Thérèse).”